Virginia Tech has attained a new source of sparkle.

Kylene Barker McNeill ’78, the initial Miss Virginia to be crowned Miss out on The us, has donated her successful robe to the university’s Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Assortment.

All through the university’s Homecoming celebration in 2021, McNeill, a previous member of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board, donated her Skip The united states crown for display screen in the Holtzman Alumni Center.

“Camille Schrier turned Miss out on Virginia and posted a photograph in entrance of my Miss The united states show in the Holtzman Alumni Middle,” McNeill reported. “I stopped in my tracks and explained, ‘That’s where by my crown belongs.’”

The exact same week she donated her crown, she thought of donating her costume to the Oris Glisson selection.

“The imagined afterwards transpired to me that  considering the fact that I’d been a fashion key possibly I should think about donating my successful robe as perfectly,” she said.

From an early age, McNeill understood she required to be a Hokie. She enrolled in 1974 with aspirations of majoring in bodily education. But when she realized the university available a main in clothes, textiles, and similar arts — right now the manner merchandising and design main — she switched disciplines.

“I beloved style and in fact built my to start with garment when I was in the sixth quality,” McNeill mentioned. “After that, my mom hardly ever experienced to sew for me all over again.”

In the course of her time as a student, she produced a multitude of memories as a cheerleader, an knowledge that boosted her gymnastics routine for the duration of the Overlook The usa competitors.

Within months of her 1978 graduation from Virginia Tech, McNeill was named Pass up Virginia and, shortly immediately after, Miss The us 1979. On completion of her one-year reign, she opened her very own costume shop, which she ran for 13 many years. She went on to co-author a guide, provide as a company spokesperson, and deliver manner demonstrates.

It was whilst McNeill was in the clothes and textiles program that the Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile Selection was named in honor of its founder, who taught style at Virginia Tech for three many years. Glisson donated a lot of of the collection’s original products, which include designer dresses from the 1950s-70s.

The selection — which now incorporates additional than 5,000 pieces of clothing, extras, and textiles, some relationship to the 19th century — serves as a vital instructing and exploration resource for college students and faculty.

“I am enthusiastic for this reward,” stated Dina Smith-Glaviana, director of the assortment and an assistant professor of fashion merchandising and structure in the Office of Clothing, Housing, and Source Management. “To me, the gown is sizeable because it is tied to the record of Virginia Tech and our method.”

McNeill’s robe was intended by Stephen Yearick, a celebrated designer of couture gowns for pageants, weddings, and occasions for quite a few famous people. It is a slim, white gown with beaded detailing.
McNeill originally donated the gown to the Jeff Matthews Memorial Museum in her hometown of Galax. A massive photograph of McNeill carrying the robe now stands in the museum’s Skip The us exhibit.

Schrier, a 2018 graduate with degrees in biochemistry and methods biology, was named Miss out on America 2019. Collectively, she and McNeill served as grand marshals of Virginia Tech’s Homecoming parade in 2021.

“Virginia Tech has often been so good to me,” claimed McNeill, who is retired in Muskoka, Ontario, and Naples, Florida. “As the many years go by, being the to start with Miss Virginia to acquire the title of Pass up America results in being even a lot more exclusive.”

Penned by Gabby Taylor